tv ABC World News With Diane Sawyer ABC February 21, 2011 6:30pm-7:00pm EST
tonight on "world news," blood on the streets in libya. >> i think there's a massacre in the making. >> will the infamous strongman gadhafi be the next arab leader to go? how many will die first. blizzard, the next winter storm hits hard and another one is coming now. super bowl suicide. the sad death of a football star save lives. why he wanted his brain saved for research. boy wonder. how a 20-year-old rookie stunned nascar pulling off the biggest upset ever. so green he got lost on the victory lap.
good evening. another arab leader is facing the wrath of his people. moammar gadhafi is fighting back hard calling in air strikes on his own people. machine guns and artillery too. information is hard to come by but human rights reports say hundreds were killed. and some military officers and diplomats are choosing to defect rather than join gadhafi's fight. they are siding with the regional revolution. protests all across the arab world from morocco to iran. governments have fallen in tunisia and egypt. will libya be next? already the ripple effects are being felt at home. today the price of oil shot up 6%, the biggest one-day jump in three years. as gadhafi tries to prolong his
more than 40-year hold here's his complicated relationship with the u.s. if he goes, would that be good for bad for america. jeffrey kofman starts us off. good evening, jeffrey. >> reporter: and good evening to you, george. the wildfires of reform that have been sweeping across the arab world turned into an inferno in libya today in a region ruled by brutal dictators moammar gadhafi is proving to be the most ruthless of all but after 41 years, these may be his final days. libya is burning. rage against of tyranny of moammar gadhafi is sweeping the country. people who have lived in fear for four decades are taking to the streets demanding he go. gadhafi is not going without a fight. he ordered soldiers to shoot to kill and they are. >> oh, my god.
they are -- they are firing at the civilians here. they are crazy. they are going crazy here. >> reporter: with borders closed, telephone and internet shut down it is impossible to get accurate information. we do know that hundreds have been killed many mowed down by machine guns while attends funerals 6 of those who died. >> they've been killed by large caliber bullets. they've reported aircraft, helicopters. they've been using anti-aircraft artillery at the people. >> reporter: today signs that gadhafi is losing his iron grip. two libyan air force pilots requested asylum in malta after refusing orders to fire on their own people and there are other defections including key members of his inner circle and some top diplomats including the deputy ambassador to the u.n. >> i never will be with gadhafi. >> reporter: gadhafi is nowhere to be seen although he did have a phone conversation with the
u.n. secretary-general who urged him to pull back the army. last night in a rambling address to the nation his son tried to blame the uprising on islamic radicals and warned there will be a civil war. we will fight to the last man, woman and bullet, he said. mounting evidence shows gadhafi's war is being fueled by hired guns, from neighboring african countries who are being paid to kill. >> mercenaries, you can hear them zooming by in their land cruisers. they don't care who they hit. they're just looking for targets. >> reporter: in opportunist where is began a month ago the first flight from libya landed late tonight. those who arrived had stories of horror. 3 to 6 in the morning the shooting did not stop. i could not sleep. as we have no communication with libya, it's very restrict. we are hearing from the capital tripoli, a major showdown is
brewing tonight. violence on a scale not seen since the revolutions began in the arab world more than a month ago. george? >> okay, jeffrey. thanks. gadhafi is not yet 70 but as jeffrey said he's been ruling for more than 40 year, longer than his deposed neighbors, mubarak and ben ali in charge for more than 20. they were both to varying degreesal lies of the u.s. but gadhafi's long history is far more complicated. >> that's one small step for man -- >> reporter: it took power. a 27-year-old army captain promoting islamic socialism. gadhafi fancied himself the arab world's answer to cast know and while his wardrobe was outlandish and antics fodder for late night comics. >> the research department has determined no two people spell it alike.
>> reporter: a dictator at home gadhafi funneled oil revenues to terrorists like black september which carried out the munich olympic massacre in 1972. in 1986 his agents targeted a berlin disco popular with u.s. soldiers. >> this is the latest act in colonel gadhafi's reign of terror. >> reporter: president reagan ordering an air strike on his compound killing his 15-month-old daughter. two years later gadhafi retaliated by taking down pan am 103 over lockerbie, scotland. for years gadhafi refused to take responsibility for the massacre. but after 9/11 and the invasion of iraq an about-face. gadhafi condemned osama bin laden. began to give up his chemical and nuclear weapons programs and in august 2003, he formally accepted responsibility for the lockerbie bombing agreeing to pay $2.7 billion in compensation. that same month gadhafi sat down with me in a tent on one of his army bases.
the strangest interview of my life. gadhafi's manner was dreamy. at times he seemed out of it but still his message was clear. do you think there will be an alliance between the united states and libya in your lifetime? >> translator: first of all, policies are not fixed. russia and america, they were enemies. now they're friends. we hope that one day we'll be friends also. >> early that year the u.s. dropped libya from its list of state terror sponsors. western companies have selfed more in libya since then but it's been a cool peace. so if gadhafi goes would that be better or worse for us? and to dig into that question i want to bring in christiane amanpour, anchor of "this week," also covering this region for more than two decades. let's talk about what this means for the united states, the big question is will the oil continue to flow? will libya again become a breeding ground for al qaeda or other terrorists? i know that u.s. officials are not saying too much publicly.
the work behind the scenes, how do you think they're balancing out these concerns? you've seen the condemnations both the white house and the state department have issued. also, remember that the moammar gadhafi's oil, very little of it comes to the united states. most of it to europe and there's no reason for that to stop flowing. in terms of terror, he was not supporting al qaeda. he actually did, in fact, condemn that. he seems to have gotten out of the terror and wmd business. don't know what will happen if there's chaos after him. but in terms also of the united states, doesn't have a huge amount of leverage there. gadhafi is not mubarak. libya is not egypt. egypt got $1.5 billion or more of u.s. aid. that's not the same with libya so much less influence there and, remember, of course, also, the leaders are not the same. the ones who have gone, for instance, mubarak was a very firm ally of the united states. and you can see that gadhafi has
had a very checkered history with the u.s. and in these uprisings we've always said it will be judged and the real critical factor will be how much the leaders are prepared to fight. and it looks like he is prepared to fight to the end. >> certainly is. okay, christiane, thanks very much. intelligence officials told abc news the american being held in pakistan worked for the cia. 36-year-old raymond davis was part of a security team assigned to war zones, he's been charged with double murdering in the shooting deaths of two pakistani men but the government maintains he has diplomatic immunity and should be freed. here at home one more winter storm is hitting hard. it's stretching from minnesota all the way to maryland and massachusetts and even more fierce winter weather is right behind it. clayton sandell is in minneapolis tonight. >> reporter: today not so subtle reminders that winter hasn't gone anywhere. across the midwest a fast moving storm is creating whiteout
conditions. >> got bad pretty fast. >> reporter: roads are a nightmare. airports across the region are also getting hit hard. at least 1,000 flights canceled today following 1600 yesterday. stranded passengers are singing the blues. ♪ i want to fly away to see my baby ♪ >> we dealing with a double barrel storm system. the first provided the heavy snow for minneapolis across the southern tier of new york and even new york city. our next storm monday night, philadelphia, washington, d.c., you missed out on the first storm, you won't get missed tonight. >> reporter: all of the snow this season comes at a huge cost for the cities that have to get rid of it. here in minneapolis for example they've already gone over their budget by $3.5 million. mike kennedy is the man in charge of getting minneapolis moving. he's seen so many snowstorms this year he's had to come up with a system just to keep track. you name your snowstorms. >> uh-huh. we name the storms just like
hurricane names. using minneapolis street names to do that. >> reporter: after 28 storms he's worked his way through the entire alphabet running out of street names. he's now resorting to naming storms after local neighborhoods. what are you calling this storm? >> this is como. >> reporter: como will continue pushing east tonight bringing with it a cure for spring fever. clayton sandell, abc news, minneapolis. now to wisconsin where that feud over union rights rages on. democrats and republicans are at an impasse debating whether pensions are to blame for the crippling budget shortfalls in wisconsin and other states. tonight barbara pinto has a reality check. >> reporter: wisconsin's troubles are raising questions nationwide about what is seen as a looming crisis. >> the truth is that for years if not decades wisconsin has pushed this problem off to the future. sadly like nearly every other state across the country. >> reporter: part of that problem, pension plans for
america's public workers that are underfunded by at least a trillion dollars. finance professor joshua rau thinks the debt could be at least three times as much. >> the only people who can pay for this are current taxpayers, future taxpayers, public employees, if their benefits are cut. >> reporter: that concerns bill lanoi, a state worker set to retire in december. the governor of this state and others say the plans they promise are bankrupting. >> they say that but they are the ones that gave them to us. >> reporter: a decade ago half of all states had fully funded pension systems. by 2008 there were only four. with some states forced to borrow from pension plans to pay other bills. wisconsin's governor wants to control those costs, fixing the budget by breaking the unions' power to negotiate over benefits. those unfunded pensions make up nearly a fifth of wisconsin's debt. adding to the frustration surrounding the issue a new study that finds most workers in
the private sector have it much worse. 65-year-old barbara mcfarland had four different careers before retiring two years ago. >> i did not receive a pension from those jobs. mine was all putting aside the money myself. >> reporter: the average 60-year-old with a 401(k) plan has a nest egg of less than a quarter of what's needed to maintain their standard of living and retirement. that means supporting state workers in their golden years could be only a fraction of the problem. barbara pinto, abc news, madison. still ahead on "world news" he helped his team win two super bowls. now he's taken his own life. how many other nfl players might be at risk. four americans, now in the hands of pirates. a young nascar winner surprising the fans and even himself.
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two time super bowl champ. >> intercepted di duerson. >> reporter: dave was also exceptionally smart and kind which is why they were shocked when last week the 50-year-old killed himself with a gunshot to the chest. he sent a text message to his ex-wife hours before. >> and he told me he loved me very much and he was truly sorry and that he loved the kids and that he felt -- he thinks there was something wrong with his brain on the left side and for me to please get it to the nfl. >> reporter: duerson asked for it to examined for cte, a degenerative disease often found in those with a history of concussions. >> football players are at a very high risk because they take, studies show, about a thousand hits to the head each
fall. some at least 20 gs which is like a small car crash so essentially your brain starts falling apart. 10 or 20 years later you start getting symptoms like memory problems and emotional problems and they eventually lead to dementia. >> reporter: he recently started having vision problems and struggled with spelling and forming words. the all-star knew of cte and served on the board that ruled on retired players' disability claims with the nfl. >> david was a very loving, caring man and he always thought of others before he thought of himself even in this moment by him wanting his brain to be examined and treated and so he could possibly help other football players in the future. >> reporter: and there is so much to learn. the nfl only recently started investigating the impact of football on the brain after years of denying any problems donating a million dollars to the cte center at boston university where duerson's brain will be examined. >> this will no doubt stir a lot
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>> reporter: the four americans and their yacht remain captives on the high seas tonight boarded by pirates surrounded by two pirate skiffs. a u.s. navy warship shadowing them and for the first time today contacting the pirates by radio. the urgent challenge now, keeping them from making it to the somali coast where they can easily disappear. >> the pirates probably saw these americans as easy prey, think they're american, must be rich so be able to pay whatever ransom is demanded. >> reporter: gene and scott and phylis and bob who chronicled every leg of it knew the waters were dangerous. but they sailed on with a mission to distribute bibles across the globe. a cargo that could increase the danger to them in strictly muslim somalia. we ventured into the pirates' lair ourself last spring crossing hundreds of miles of desert under armed guard to reach a remote beachside village. as we found if the u.s. navy can't save them all that's left
is somalia's ragtag coast guard. the coast guard tries to use the pirates' weapons against them. this boat was captured from the pirates painted blue for the coast guard and the commander says it's the only patrol boat that's fast enough to catch up with the pirates. the pirates will likely demand a ransom in the millions of dollar, a daunting prospect for couples who poured their life savings into the trip but now short of rescue possibly their only hope. jim sciutto, abc news, washington. and still ahead, the rookie race car driver celebrating his cinderella victory at daytona. [ male announcer ] hands free driving.
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now we are free. happy. with prevacid®24hr, happiness is a day without heartburn. finally tonight what a weekend it was for trevor bayne. he turned 20 on saturday celebrated on sunday with a record-setting victory in nascar's premiere race the daytona 500 and as yunji de nies found out when she talked to bayne today not even he expected it. >> reporter: this is the moment that may be nascar's biggest upset ever. >> trevor bayne. >> it's over. >> cinderella going to win the daytona 500. unbelievable! >> reporter: the day after his 20th birthday trevor bayne won
the daytona 500. the youngest driver ever to feel the confetti rain down in victory lane. >> i just went crazy. i just -- are you kidding me. >> reporter: this little-known driver who races part time beat out legends jimmie johnson, dale earnhardt jr. and his own idol jeff gordon stunning the racing world and himself. >> i don't even know where to go. >> reporter: after crossing the finish line, he got lost. >> i was so caught up in the moment waving to the fans and they were all going crazy that i passed right by the entrance and had to back up a little to go back in. >> reporter: back in knoxville his brother trey is his biggest fan. >> my mind was blank. my mind is still blank. >> reporter: now at 5 years old when you started driving, most kids are getting their first bicycle. why did you decide to choose cars? >> we went to the racetrack on my 5th birthday and took off
from there. first race was not a success, i tell you. >> reporter: it will also came on what could have been a dark day for racing fans. it was tens year ago that dale earnhardt lost his life on this same track. they paid tribute and soon the rookie gave them something to celebrate. >> i still haven't got it all. not a big enough sponge to absorb it all. >> reporter: bayne is drinking it in even though he's still too young to toast with chapel shane. yunji de nies, abc news, bristol, connecticut. >> paying it forward. bayne is donating some of his $1.3 million purse to a charity he works with that helps orphans in mexico. that's all for us this presidents' day. diane will be back tomorrow. i'll see you tomorrow on "gma." have a good night.